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Mark Zuckerberg Blasts Media Amid Damning Facebook Revelations; Biden to Campaign in Virginia Tonight for Terry McAuliffe; Chappelle Willing to Meet with Trans Community But with Conditions. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 26, 2021 - 11:30   ET


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Is that we have an open culture where we encourage discussion and research about our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He talks there about good-faith criticism but what about bad-faith arguments? I mean, we've seen Facebook make a lot of those in the past few months. We know they really can't be trusted when it comes to their own research because we have seen evidence over the past year where they have selectively released research and findings to make themselves look good and hide research internally when it doesn't play to their favor publicly.

So, it is a bit rich of Zuckerberg to be out here saying that all of this is selectively being -- being selective in what we're choosing to report and what this whistleblower is leaking.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: They can just always release a bunch more of their own documents if they wanted to have it out. It's good to see you, Donie. Thank you. We're going to have much more from Donie throughout the week.

Joining me now for more on this is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. He's the chairman of House Judiciary's Anti-Trust Subcommittee. He led a 16-month-long investigation into the business practices of big tech companies like Facebook and the committee now has approved a package of six bipartisan bills trying to take on the tech companies. Congressman, thanks for being here.

What is your reaction to what Zuckerberg had to say on this earnings call yesterday?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, look, I mean, Facebook has demonstrated time and time again they cannot be trusted either to make the right decisions or to speak honestly about their business practices. What has been revealed over the last couple of weeks is completely consistent with what we found in our investigation. Facebook was designed to do exactly what it's doing, to maximize engagement, to drive up revenues by doing so, and that means the most provocative, most divisive, most hateful and dangerous speech is amplified. That's their business model. And so what we're seeing is it was designed to do exactly what it's doing. What we have to do is rein in big tech, first and foremost, by giving real competition. So, if you don't like the practices of Facebook, you have the ability to move to another platform easily. We have to prevent them from engaging in behaviors that favor their own products and services, which are anti-competitive.

But as you mentioned, we've studied this marketplace for 16 months in the last Congress. We crafted very specific bills to restore competition in the digital marketplace. They've passed out of the Judiciary Committee. Congress needs to take them up and pass them so that we can bring real competition, real choice back online so people who don't like these practices of Facebook have the ability to go to another platform, keep all of their content, their connections, their photographs, their network but be able to do so easily.

But, look, this is a repeat offender that time and time again, when caught, says, oh, geez, I'm sorry. In this case, he's not even acknowledging it. He's trying to, again, make it a public relations crisis rather than the real national crisis it is.

BOLDUAN: But, Congressman, Zuckerberg has repeatedly that said he welcomes government regulation. He wrote in a 2019 op-ed, I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. He told a Senate committee earlier this year we need democratically-agreed rules for internet. We are ready to work with you to move beyond hearings and get started on real reform. Do you believe that?

CICILLINE: Well, not at all. Look, they're spending millions of dollars on television ads saying we want to be regulated. It's just not true. They have an army of lobbyists descending on Washington that are doing everything they possibly can to stop the reforms that we've moved forward. They want to protect --

BOLDUAN: Have those lobbyists reached out to you?

CICILLINE: The lobbyists are all over the Capitol and they're spending lots of money on campaign contributions to try to protect the ecosystem they have in place, the status quo that's generated profits never seen in the history of the world.

So, this is, again, a P.R. spin, like, oh, we want regulation, while they're spending tens of millions of dollars to stop any reforms, including the five bills -- six bills that we've passed out to the Judiciary Committee. They don't want anything to change.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about these bills, and like a gut check on this. Your anti-trust bills focus on limiting Facebook's monopoly. Taking on Facebook and big tech is truly maybe the only area of bipartisan agreement that I can find on Capitol Hill right now. The package of bills that you've passed have passed through committee. Your party though is in the middle of trying to figure itself out on this massive spending bill and infrastructure bill. The debt ceiling debate is going to come rearing back in December. We have got government funding still holding out there. So, why should anyone outside of Washington have faith that you all can get something as big as taking on big tech and reforming internet regs at the very same time?

CICILLINE: Well, I think, importantly, we demonstrated our bipartisan commitment to this issue. This investigation began in the last Congress for 16 months. We worked in a bipartisan way. My ranking member, Ken Buck, and I, and all the members of the committee, really did the work to study and understand this marketplace. We then developed a 450-page report with very specific recommendations.


We then crafted recommendations that came from that report into legislation.

BOLDUAN: I don't question it's thoughtful. I don't question it's thoughtful.

CICILLINE: But I was just saying, Kate --

BOLDUAN: You can walk and chew gum at the same time --

CICILLINE: Absolutely. Look -- no, absolutely. Look, we have to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed. We have to get the president's build back better agenda passed. But we also have to get reforms passed. It's very, very important to the future of our democracy, to the future of prosperity of our economy that we rein in these big tech companies monopolies. We have a roadmap to do it. We've proven at every juncture we can work in a bipartisan way. The American people are demanding Congress do its job in reining in big tech. And although they're spending lots of money to try to stop us, we've prevailed at every turn, both in the report, in the investigation, in the mark-up. And we're going to prevail on the floor.

So we've proven by the hard work that's been put into this that we've come up with the right solutions to restore competition in the digital marketplace. It is among one -- in my view, it's one of the most urgent priorities of Congress and we're going to get it done.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming on.

CICILLINE: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, President Biden heads to Virginia today to campaign for the Democrat in that high-stakes governor's race. The latest on that contest that everyone is watching, next.



BOLDUAN: President Biden is headed to Virginia today. He's hoping to give a last-minute boost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is in the fight of his career, locked in a tight race against Trump-backed Republican Glenn Youngkin. You can see in this Monmouth University Poll where things stand in this governor's race. They are close. It is neck and neck. They are one week out from counting votes.

Joining me now, CNN Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny and Jahd Khalil of Virginia Public Radio. Thanks for being here, guys.

Jeff, people are voting right now. Early voting has been under way. What are you hearing from voters?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, early voting has been under way for more than a month. More than 734,000 Virginians have already voted, and both sides believe this will be on the way to a record-setting turnout here. There were 2.6 million people voted in the last governor's race, so there definitely is a lot of enthusiasm.

But Democrats are worried that there's more enthusiasm on the Republican side for newcomer GlennYoungkin. He's a businessman, has never run for public office before. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a very familiar face, longtime Democrat, served as governor for four years. But Virginia, the only state in the country that only allows its governors to serve for one term at a time.

So he's essentially applying for his old job and that record is a mixed bag, in some respects. The economy was good during that period. He was elected in 2013. But this is a different moment. This is a different time. And so much of what is going on in Washington or isn't going on in Washington is bleeding over into this race. That's why it is such a fascinating dynamic here in the final week.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And, Jahd, it's a tight race and it's been a long race. A lot of people are watching this really closely. Is there one issue that you're hearing from voters that this is coming down to as this race closes out?

JAHD KHALIL, VIRGINIA PUBLIC RADIO: I think a lot of what I heard from voters when I've been out has been about the political balance in Virginia. So you get a lot of comments about how we've seen kind of a blueward shift in Virginia, so Republicans haven't won a statewide office here since 2009. So, a lot of Democrats are coming out, you hear them saying that we want to keep that going, and then Republicans are coming out saying that this is our chance to take Virginia back and put another Republican governor in Richmond.

BOLDUAN: It's interesting. Jeff, Biden is coming, as I mentioned. His approval rating in Virginia is in the low 40s. What does Terry McAuliffe want to get from his visit?

ZELENY: Essentially, Kate, he wants to get every person who voted for Joe Biden just last year to come out and vote for Terry McAuliffe. If that were to happen and Terry McAuliffe would win, of course, Joe Biden won Virginia by ten percentage points. But the issue here and why this is different this year is the falloff in turnout from a presidential year to an off-year election. And we've seen one Democrat after another from Barack Obama to First Lady Jill Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris to Stacey Abrams to others making the case trying to wake-up Democrats, so trying to get as many Democrats to the polls as possible. So, even though President Biden's approval rating certainly is not where he would like it to be or Terry McAuliffe would like it to be, there are still Democrat who believe in him overall. It's just motivating them to come out and vote.

But, Kate, the question, of course, are those voters in the middle, people who were turned off by Donald Trump last year, voted for Joe Biden. But this year, they really are taking a different look and Glenn Youngkin is running, again, as someone who's never done this before. So, the outsider message is always so strong in a race like this. So, that is one of the things that worries Democrats.

But Joe Biden coming out here, there's no way to distance yourself really from the White House, especially being this close to Washington, just across the Potomac River. So, embrace Joe Biden, you know, for good or bad, and they're trying to get those Biden Democrats out here in the final week.


BOLDUAN: And, Jahd, when Terry McAuliffe was on with me on the show last week, he really tried to drive the point that Democrats are fired up, that he feels the enthusiasm. But voter apathy and exhaustion is a real thing in any race. How big of a deal is it in Virginia?

KHALIL: Well, I think that's a big enough deal that everybody is talking about it. So, you hear from voters that maybe that they're not necessarily that excited about McAuliffe but they're going to come out anyway because they think this is a really important election. And I think there's a lot of talk about like signs and that sort of thing. So, you see a lot of Youngkin signs around the state and then there's kind of like different variations, like parents for Youngkin, farmers for Youngkin, sportsmen for Youngkin, that sort of thing.

And you don't really see that reflected that same amount of signs for the Democratic side of things. But it's important to remember that just last year we didn't see a lot of Biden signs around the state, but he handily won Virginia. I think it was something like 54 percent or something like that. So, kind of enthusiasm that you see versus voters that kind of see their -- or Democratic voters who see that it's really important for them to come out and what their priorities are.

You know, it's another reason to really think about how difficult it is to predict what's going to happen. I mean, you were talk about polls that are really close, the voter turnout is different than years' past. It's really hard to compare previous years to this year because of the pandemic and Democrats in their two years and the legislature here expanded voting access by a lot. So, it's going to be really hard to tell, you know, where this race is going.

BOLDUAN: Well, we don't have to wait much longer because they're going to start counting votes one week from today. It's good to see you both. Thank you so much.

Coming up, Comedian Dave Chappelle responds to the controversy over his Netflix special. He says he's willing to meet with members of the transgender community but he is drawing a line. That's next.



BOLDUAN: Comedian Dave Chappelle is leaning into the controversy over his latest Netflix special and saying that he's ready to meet but won't bend to anyone's demands. This is after he and Netflix faced criticism for his commentary about the transgender community.

Let me play what Chappelle is saying now.


DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN, THE CLOSER: To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody's demands. And if you want to meet with me, I'd be more than willing to, but I have some conditions.

First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my specks from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now is CNN Chief Media Correspondent, Anchor of Reliable Sources Brian Stelter. Brian, what do you think Chapelle is really saying and doing here?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think there's some real doubts about his sincerity in this message, you know, not only is he saying you've got to come where I want to meet but also he then goes on to say, you have to admit Hannah Gadsby is not funny, she's a comedian. And so he's really -- he is, I think, provoking his crowd and trying to go for some cheers with his fans but there's real doubt about his sincerity. And right now, we're not aware of any actual planned meeting.

Look, he goes on to say here, Kate, that he believes this is not about gay rights or about the trans community. He says this is about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say. So, he wants to be viewed as this warrior against cancel culture.

And I think we're going to see these battles all the time, practically every day there's another version of this kind of dispute about what is going to be accepted, what's not going to be accepted by institutions when it comes to free speech. That is true, but it is also true that transphobia is a real problem. So, I think these are all true at the same time.

And the one thing I think we can all agree on, Kate, he says you should watch the special before you critique it, before you react, and that I agree with Dave Chapelle on. It's at least worth consuming and seeing what the fuss is all about and maybe, maybe that's exactly what he wants.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point, Brian, good point as always. Thanks so much, Brian. I really, really appreciate it.

STELTER: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: So, before we go, I want to tell you about a relatively unknown chapter in American history. A woman who inspired Rosa Parks' historic stand against segregated bussing is now trying to clear her own name. Claudette Colvin is filing a request today in Alabama to wipe away her criminal record, a record that helped spark the civil rights movement nine months before Rosa Parks took her stand.

15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to surrender her bus seat to make room for a white person. She was arrested charged with disturbing the peace, violating the city's segregation law and assaulting a police officer. Colvin was a plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court case that ended bus segregation.

But despite all of this amazing history, Claudette Colvin still has a criminal record, and she still isn't as widely known as really she deserves.


Earlier this year, she sat down with my colleague, Abby Philip to talk about why.


CLAUDETTE COLVIN, CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEER: They want to use the one that would view the image that Rosa Parks would be more acceptable to the white community than a dark complexion teenager.

People said I was crazy.


COLVIN: Because I was 15 years old and was defiant and was shouting it's my constitutional rights.


BOLDUAN: So, the segregation convictions, they were overturned. And now this civil rights pioneer at 82 years old is asking the courts to expunge the assault conviction, and that's exactly what should happen.

Inside Politics with John King begins after this break.